Mecca Masjid Blast Case: Court Acquits All Accused; Hyd On High Alert

An NIA Special Court today acquitted all the five accused in the sensational 2007 Mecca Masjid bomb blast case citing lack of strong evidence. Following the verdict this afternoon, the Hyderabad City Police issued a high alert.

The powerful blast at the Hyderabad's landmark mosque in the Old City killed 9 people and injured 58 who were offering Friday namaz on May 18, 2007, including 5 people who died in the firing by police to control the mob violence after the blast.

Hindu right wing group members Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, Devendra Gupta, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary, the main accused in the case, have been relieved by the court. While two other accused Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra are absconding, another accused Sunil Joshi is dead.

The five accused were arrested after a preliminary investigation and the case was handed over to the CBI before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over in 2011. The NIA questioned a total of 226 witnesses during the trial and produced 411 documents.

The defence advocate said that the judge at the fourth additional metropolitan sessions-cum-special court for NIA in his order observed that "not a single allegation levelled by the prosecution could be proved" and hence he declared all the accused acquitted.

Swami Aseemanand and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar were released on bail and three others remained in jail. A Rajasthan court had sentenced Devendra Gupta and another convict to life imprisonment in the Ajmer dargah blast case in March, 2017.

Meanwhile, angry and aghast family members of the blast victims expressed their angst speaking with the media. "Who is to be blamed for the blast. Who killed our brothers and sisters? Will we ever come to know the truth?," a family member lamented.
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